Never forget. Never again.
Four simple, but important, words that speak volumes. There are other writers, journalists, bloggers and commentators greater than I who have waxed philosophical about what this day means. I won't even try. The enormity of what happened that day, not only in terms of the amount of lives lost but it’s ramifications physically, emotionally, intellectually and, dare I say, spiritually are too great to encapsulate in prose. Hence this particular blog entry is not as polished as other entries. It is more stream of conscious writing and I hope that you understand and bear with.
Our culture has been irrevocably changed. Trips abroad now seem to be tinged with a hint of danger. A simple walk down the street to the grocery store can instantly become a "dead man's walk". Decency and morality seem mutable; easily discarded in the name of "national security."
I've tried to keep this column free from political agenda and bias, preferring instead to keep its focus to matters of popular culture, literature and art. However, on this day I cannot help but note that ten years on our American culture still seems to be defined by strife from within. Pundits of two political parties attack one another in the media, spouting inflammatory rhetoric that says absolutely nothing. Each side regurgitates the same talk ad nauseum, pointing out everything that is wrong with our country (and blaming in on their political opposites), but rarely offer concrete solutions. Yet from without and within there are those that are still conspiring to inflict lethal blows to this nation and the ideals it stands for. Perhaps there hasn't been an attempt by them to repeat the damage caused by 9/11 because those very same forces are pointing and laughing at the fact that we're doing such an admirable job of that on our own. A burgeoning new political party is gaining traction; what better epitome of how fractured and prone to divisive disagreement is there?
Remember that one of the things that make this nation unique is our freedom and ability to disagree even in the face of adversity. For a couple of days after 9/11 there was a feeling of unity. Race, politics, backgrounds...(except for a couple of exceptions...and in those cases more due to fear mongering than anything else)...was immaterial. We were Americans first. After a while not only things seemed to have returned to “normal”, they got worse. As human beings…as Americans, we are better than that. If we are to learn anything from this day, it is that we have the ability to rise above our wounds to become stronger than before. Not just physically, but morally, intellectually, and spiritually, however you choose to identify with the latter term.
One last thing...on that day, we reached out to people...to some we may have taken for granted because we saw them every day...Some people never realized they were saying "good bye" to their loved ones for the final time. So please, whenever possible, do not let a day go by without letting someone know how you feel about them. On that day someone very special said three words to me I never expected that person to say. Yet it was profound in its effect. If nothing else, 9/11 showed the fragility of this thing called life. There is a nine month build up to our entry into the world but it takes less than a second to effectuate our exit. Each day is a gift. Make it count...for yourself…and someone else.